Adventures in Asia: Kyoto, Japan

We took the train to Kyoto on the morning of February 24th. The trip, departing from Osaka, would only take 1 hour and cost us 440 yen (we had gotten a metro card for our week in Japan upon arriving in Osaka and so, each time, we just had to top it up). After we got there, we decided that we were going to see the sights in Kyoto that were a bit further away from the main downtown core; we wanted to get them all out of the way so we could stay closer to the city the following day. We checked into our Airbnb (the cutest place ever that even had beds and a tea set on a traditional tatami mat), dropped off our luggage, and then took the bus to our first, much-anticipated stop of the day: the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. This place felt magical. It felt…

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Adventures in Asia: Osaka & Nara, Japan

Japan, like Cambodia, was another trip that I knew I was going to prioritize and end up doing during my exchange. I had wanted to go to Japan for years and now that I was finally physically “close” to it (or at least closer than a 14-hour plane ride from Toronto), I was going to make the trip happen. I was so committed to the idea of it that I made sure to pack warm clothes with me back in December – jeans, sweaters, and even my light winter coat. Luckily, I found an amazing group of people who also wanted to go and very early on, we committed to a Japan trip for our school’s reading week in February. Our itinerary was as follows: We were going to be in Japan from February 21st to February 29th. We would spend the first 3 days (Feb 21-Feb 23) in Osaka,…

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Adventures in Asia: Bagan, Myanmar

This was a hard post to write, not because there weren’t things to talk about (there was too much to talk about and I tried so hard to be concise) but because each time I wrote a sentence, I’d wish that I was back in Bagan so badly. This brought back so many waves of nostalgia and longing for a country that is now thousands of kilometers from me. It’s not an exaggeration when I say that day in Bagan was probably my favourite day of my entire exchange journey. So, after spending a night on a bus coming from Yangon, we arrived at the bus stop in Bagan at 4:30 in the morning, which was 2 hours earlier than when we were supposed to get there. Luckily, we only waited about half an hour before the driver that we had hired for a day was ready to start the…

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Adventures in Asia: Yangon, Myanmar

To this day, I still can’t believe that I had ever stepped foot anywhere in Myanmar. What a surreal experience that whole weekend was.             My decision to book my flight to Myanmar was completely spontaneous (I booked it when I should have definitely been studying for my upcoming midterm). Again, I had been tracking flights for a while and suddenly, prices dropped. And so, I found two people to go with, and together, we committed to this seemingly wild idea of going to Myanmar for a weekend. Coming to Singapore, I actually had made a list of places that I wanted to visit while I was going to be in Southeast Asia. I guess you could have called it a priority list; I knew that I wasn’t going to have the time to see everything and so, I wanted to make sure I saw what I wanted to see.…

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Adventures in Asia: Siem Reap (Angkor Wat), Cambodia

These posts aren’t happening in chronological order anymore; Cambodia was my final trip of exchange and since it’s the most fresh in my memory, I want to get it down first. Cambodia was a trip that I knew was going to happen during my exchange term (I was going to make it happen). I’ve seen enough photos of Angkor Wat to know that I had to see it if I was going to be in Southeast Asia for so long. And so, starting in January, I started tracking prices using Google Flights. Flights from Singapore directly to Siem Reap were looking expensive – they were around the 300 dollar range for a round trip ticket, for trips a week from that day and three months from that day. If we flew to Phnom Penh (about a 10-12 hour bus drive away from Siem Reap), the tickets were half that price.…

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